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The 20.1 megapixel Sony Alpha A58 DSLT is Sony's latest interchangeable lens camera with translucent mirror technology and is designed to replace both the Sony Alpha A37 and A57, bringing a simplification to the entry level range of Sony Alpha DSLTs. The next model up in the range is the Sony Alpha A65.
The Sony Alpha A58 DSLT features a new 20.1 megapixel Exmor APS-C CMOS sensor, with ISO100 to ISO16000, and an improved BIONZ image processing engine for detailed, low-noise photos. The camera includes SteadyShot INSIDE, which moves the sensor to counter-act any camera shake. The Sony Translucent Mirror Technology means that it uses a transparent mirror with a separate autofocus sensor, that allows continuous AF, and the mirror does not need to move when taking photos. Due to the use of the mirror technology, the camera does not feature an optical viewfinder like other Digital SLRs, but instead uses an electronic viewfinder - this model sports a 1.44million dot OLED viewfinder, with eye-detection sensor, and on the back a 2.7inch tilting 460k dot screen.
Auto object framing, will automatically frame portraits, macros or AF Tracking subjects, and crop accordingly while also retaining the original image. This feature is an update to auto-portrait framing on previous models, and can be switched off if unneeded. Lock on AF is another new feature that will automatically detect the subject size and track the movement accordingly. The new 20.1 megapixel sensor offers ISO100 to ISO16000, with area based noise reduction for improved low light performance.
Introduced with the Sony Alpha A58 is a new kit lens, the Sony DT f/3.5-5.6 18-55mm SAM II (Model SAL18552). The lens has newly-designed rear lens elements designed to suppress flare and ghosting, while mechanical elements have been upgraded for a more positive, comfortable operation.
- 20.1 megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor
- 2.7inch 460k dot tilting screen
- 1.44k dot OLED EVF (SVGA)
- SteadyShot INSIDE™ image stabilization sensor
- 15-point AF system with 3 cross-sensors
- New ISO standard hot-shoe with Multi Terminal (Ni) accessory port
- Panoramic shooting
- 1080/60i/24p Full AVCHD™ or 1080/30p MP4 movies
- ISO100 - 16000, Multi-frame noise reduction
- 5fps continuous shooting with AF / 8fps at 5mp
- Auto HDR / Picture effects / Hand-held twilight
- Memory Stick PRO Duo / SD/SDHC/SDCX Memory Slot
Handling - On top you'll notice that the A58 has followed other recent Sony Alpha and NEX cameras and features a more ISO standard flash hot-shoe, with the Multi Terminal Ni accessory port. Included in the box is an adapter to convert it back into the previous style of Sony flash mount if needed. In front of the shutter release button is a control wheel for adjusting aperture or shutter depending on which mode you are in.
There is a moulded front grip, which gives a good level of resistance as it is made out of rubber. On the rear is a decent sized textured thumb grip, however this is just made of plastic, and not rubber like the front grip. The electronic viewfinder is the same resolution as the Sony Alpha A57, however, this new model is OLED instead of LCD, and looks good, with a clear display.
Also on the rear are the menu, video, AEL, exposure, FN, Playback and ? (Help) buttons, with a 4-way controller and middle AF button. The four-way controller gives quick access to DISP, Drive, WB and Creative shooting effects.
The 2.7 inch screen features a 460k dot resolution and tilts up and down, although doesn't have the best view when not viewed directly. The menus are clear and easy to use, and a number of settings can be adjusted on the screen using the Fn button. Underneath the camera has the usual tripod socket and battery compartment with the memory card accessed from the side.
The lens mount is plastic, while the previous models, the A37 and A57 feature a metal lens mount, although this is just the front of it, with the section behind the ring also made of plastic (on previous models as well). Whether this will affect the reliability of the camera is yet to be seen, but shouldn't cause any issues unless you regularly, and roughly, change your lens. The appearance of the plastic lens mount makes the camera look slightly unfinished when viewed without the lens attached.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 690-700 shots according to Sony / CIPA test results, with slightly longer battery life available when using the LCD screen.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Sony Alpha A58||Sony RX100|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.125s||0.3s|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.125s||0.3s|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||2.1s||2.2s|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||0.6s||0.9s|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||0.8s||2.1s|
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
|5fps (8 shots)||7fps (speed priority mode, 15 shots)|
|Continuous Shooting - Flash||0.8s||1.6s|
|Continuous Shooting - RAW||5fps (6 shots)||4fps (13 shots)|
After shooting 8 JPEG (Fine) shots in continuous shooting, the camera slows to roughly 2 to 3fps. There is a high speed continuous shooting mode on the dial that shoots at 8fps, at a cropped resolution of 5 megapixels, after 15 shots this slows to 4 to 5fps.
Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Sony Alpha A58 Sample Photos
DRO Off | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
DRO Auto | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
HDR Auto | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Daffodil | 1/500 sec | f/9.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 100
Thoresby Hall | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 24.0 mm | ISO 100
Night Sheffield | 1/40 sec | f/3.5 | 18.0 mm | ISO 3200
Sample Photos - Colour and detail are good with the camera producing images with rich saturated colours. Flash performance is good with no red-eye visible in portrait photos taken with flash.
Sony Alpha A58 Lens test images
Wide | 1/400 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Zoom | 1/250 sec | f/9.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 100
Trees | 1/125 sec | f/5.6 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/50 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 200
Lens Performance - The 18-55mm SAM II shows strong barrel distortion at 18mm, which can be corrected in camera, using the lens compensation correction built into the camera, with options to correct shading (vignetting), chromatic aberrations, and distortion. Dynamic range is good, with reliable exposure, and there are options to increase dynamic range with DRO (Dynamic Range Optimisation) or HDR shooting which automatically merges a number of shots taken at different exposures. Some purple fringing is visible when chromatic aberration correction is switched off, although generally this was not a problem in shots. The lens is quite resistant to flare, and has good levels of detail even into the corners, although images could benefit slightly from sharpening.
Sony Alpha A58 ISO test images
0.3 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 100
1/6 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200
1/13 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 400
1/25 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 800
1/50 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 1600
1/100 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 3200
1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 6400
1/400 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 12800
1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 16000
ISO Noise Performance - ISO is low at ISO100, ISO200 and ISO400, with some noise becoming visible at ISO800. At ISO1600 it's possible to see a slight reduction in detail in images, although noise is still quite low. This continues at ISO3200 as noise increases and detail drops again. ISO6400 shows additional noise and detail is lost, but results could be usable. Due to strong noise and reduced detail ISO12800 and ISO16000 are best avoided unless resized.
Sony Alpha A58 White-balance test images
AWB Tungsten | 1/5 sec | f/9.0 | 26.0 mm | ISO 200
Tungsten Preset | 1/6 sec | f/9.0 | 26.0 mm | ISO 200
AWB Fluorescent | 0.4 sec | f/9.0 | 26.0 mm | ISO 200
Fluorescent Preset 1 | 0.4 sec | f/9.0 | 26.0 mm | ISO 200
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten lighting with a slightly warm result, and the tungsten preset gives a more accurate result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting, with the fluorescent preset giving a colder result. Each white balance preset can be customised further, or alternatively you can use manual white balance to get the most accurate results.
Panoramic | 1/200 sec | f/9.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Panorama mode - The panoramic shooting mode lets you pan the camera as you hold the shutter release button, and automatically stitches the photos together, giving decent results.
Sony Alpha A58 Digital filters
Miniature | 1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 100
Retro | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Rich Tone Mono Multi Shot | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Soft Focus | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Soft High Key | 1/125 sec | f/5.6 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
HDR Painting | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
High Contrast Mono | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Partial Colour Green | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Pop | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Posterisation | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Toy | 1/640 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Digital Filters - The camera offers a wide range of picture effects and creative styles, a number of the picture effects are shown above. The creative styles let you setup and customise contrast, saturation, sharpness. The camera features 8 scene modes, including a handheld twilight mode that takes a number of shots in quick succession and combines them for a better shot.
Video - The camera records Full HD video, with continuous auto focus available while recording. Wind noise reduction and optical steady shot is available as well as a number of compression options, including AVCHD, MP4, 50i, 25p. ISO can be set to a maximum of ISO3200 for video recording. On the side is a microphone socket for improved audio recording.
Value For MoneyThe Sony Alpha A58 is available for £439 with 18-55mm SAM II kit lens, making it very good value for money, priced as an entry level Digital SLR, with alternatives to look at including the Pentax K-30 (16mp, weather sealed, 6fps), Nikon D3200 (24mp, 4fps), Canon EOS 600D (18mp, tilting screen, 3.7fps), and other alternatives worth looking at if you're interested in a smaller system being the Panasonic Lumix G5 (16mp, tilting touch-screen, 6fps) and the Samsung NX20 (20mp, tilting screen, Wi-Fi, 8fps).
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
Sony Alpha A65.
For those looking for a Digital SLR with a high resolution sensor, and good continuous shooting speed, at an entry level price, this is perhaps one of the better models, with quick focus and continuous shooting at 5fps, at the full 20 megapixel resolution. Battery life is also impressive offering up to 700 shots, with the info-lithium battery keeping you informed as to exactly how much is left.
The Sony Alpha A58 is not the smallest or lightest Digital SLR, with the A37, D3200 (just), 100D, and K-30 smaller, however it does give a good size hand grip and feels small enough and light enough for anyone looking for a reasonably compact and portable SLR. If you want a smaller model then the small size of mirrorless lenses and cameras would make the Panasonic Lumix G5 or newer G6 a more compact package.
Despite an increase in resolution over the Sony Alpha A37, noise is well controlled with decent results at ISO3200 and even ISO6400. Rather than seeing this as a downgraded A57, the A58 is more of an upgraded A37, and offers improved detail in images and excellent value for money. If you shoot with Sony lenses, and want to upgrade your body for better image quality then the Sony Alpha A58 is highly recommended.
Buy Online Now
|The Sony Alpha A58 offers improved detail in images and excellent value for money.|
Sony Alpha A58 ProsGood image quality
Bright saturated colours
Focus peaking for manual focus
Good battery life
5fps continuous shooting
Good value for money
Excellent value for money
Sony Alpha A58 ConsPlastic lens mount should not affect reliability, however the appearance does put people off the camera
Strong barrel distortion at wide-angle
Low contrast 2.7inch screen
8fps continuous shooting at 5mp
1 year warranty
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Sony Alpha A58 Specifications
|CCD pixels||20.1Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Type||Exmor CMOS|
|Sensor Size (width)||23.5mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||15.6mm|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/4000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 16000|
|Video FPS||50p, 50i, 25p|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Infolithium NP-FM500H|
|Box Contents||Lens cap, Micro USB cable, Body cap, SAL-18552, rechargeable battery, Eyepiece cup, battery charger, shoulder strap, power cable|